Dan's Double: Live Longshot in Cigar Mile

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Racing fans celebrate a winner in this file photo. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

Dan’s Double of the Week, featuring handicapping analysis from America’s Best Racing’s New York correspondent Dan Tordjman, is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC).

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When it comes to making money when handicapping races and betting on horse racing, it’s all about picking winners. Tordjman – DanonymousMan to those who follow him on Twitter – is one of the sharpest horseplayers around.

Each week, Tordjman will provide readers with his two best bets of the weekend and strategies for how to bet them. Good luck!


Saturday, Dec. 7

Aqueduct, Race 1, 11:30 a.m. ET

#1 First Degree: This one will be easy to remember — bet on the one horse named First Degree in the first race at Aqueduct on Saturday. First Degree will be making just his second career start for trainer Jonathan Thomas. The horse was last seen in early October when he showed some speed early and hung on well enough to finish third. Thomas scores at a nice 36% clip off this kind of layoff, and First Degree is a son of Bernardini, a sire who produces nearly 20% winners from his 2-year-old starters on the dirt in route races. First Degree was a $300,000 purchase at the sales and would seem to be coming off of a very solid debut performance; that race has seen the sixth- and seventh-place finishers come back to win their next start.

Strategy on a $10 Budget 

$2 win, place, show on #1 First Degree ($6)

$1 exacta 1,10 with 1,6,10 ($4)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$4 win, place, show on #1 First Degree ($12)

$1 exacta box: 1,6,10 ($6)

$1 trifecta key 1 over 5,6,10 ($6)

Strategy on a $50 Budget 

$4 win, place, show on #1 First Degree ($12)

$2 exacta box: 1,6,10 ($12)

$1 trifecta key 1 over 3,5,6,10 ($12)

$.50 trifecta 1,3,10 with 1,3,5,10 with 1,3,5,6,10 ($13.50)

Aqueduct, Race 10, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap, 4:16 p.m. ET

#9 Looking At Bikinis: I’ve been down this road before and, although it didn't work out well last time, we’re gonna take another shot with Looking At Bikinis. This is a horse that was mentioned in this blog on Travers Stakes weekend when I felt he stood a pretty strong shot of upsetting that tough field. Unfortunately, all hope was lost at the start when he stumbled badly out of the gate and recovered just in time to chase the pace from a wide draw while losing ground on the first turn. Much like another longshot who I loved earlier this year but who was a victim of bad luck — Bodexpress in the Preakness — Looking At Bikinis returned with a dominant effort. For him, it was at Keeneland where he posted a 97 Beyer Speed Figure in first-level allowance company (that’s a huge number) and a career-best 112 Equibase Speed Figure (ESF). For perspective, probable favorite Maximum Security’s best ESF is 111. As opposed to some of the others in here, Looking At Bikinis has been campaigned lightly in 2019 and could very well be sitting on a breakout performance Saturday. He also has the gate speed (assuming he gets away cleanly this time) to sit just behind Maximum Security and Spun to Run, who figures to keep the pace honest up front.

Strategy on a $10 Budget 

$5 win, place on #9 Looking At Bikinis ($10)

Strategy on a $25 Budget 

$5 win, place, show on #9 Looking At Bikinis ($15)

$5 exacta box: 6,9 ($10)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$5 win, place, show on #9 Looking At Bikinis ($15)

$5 exacta box: 6,9 ($10)

$1 exacta key box 9 with 4,5,6,8,11 ($10)

$.50 trifecta 6,8,9 with 5,6,8,9 with 4,5,6,8,9 ($13.50)

Last Week’s Earnings: $77.10

Year-to-Date Earnings: $7,077.70


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